College professors; do you know where your students are?

Photo by Mikael Kristenson

My freshman college roommate was doomed to be very famous; or infamous. He certainly had the intelligence to do well academically; he appeared to lack the desire.

His attitude toward the rest of the world may have been attributed to the conflict in his name.

His real first name was from the land of den; either Jayden, Hayden, or Brayen, I never knew which. I always referred to him by his nickname; Pimples which he hated; or Pimp — which he loved.

Last names didn’t matter to many on the…


Is someone who is successful in one thing, necessarily successful in everything? Conversely, if someone fails at one thing will he fail at everything? Maybe it depends on who’s judging.

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Financial service firms love to get local celebrities as account executives. Oft times doors of opportunity are open for a known name that are closed for others. This is especially true in financial planning.

I swear, Brooks and I have clients that would rather have their retirement planned by a well know athlete than the head of the Federal Reserve.

That’s why we hired Jax Johnson,* a Philadelphia Eagle football player.

Jax would represent our firm, Investors Diversified Systems, as an advisor specializing in preparing retirement plans.

What was most impressive about Jax was his imposing size; rising so high…


There are times in life when you have to see for yourself if a product recommended is everything proclaimed!

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Dad Dickens or just Dad is what Kit and I called our grandfather.

He was a Vermonter through and through. When he retired he did what most Vermonters seem to eventually try at one time or another. Escape the bitter cold, snowy winters of that beautiful green country and repair to Florida for the season.

My grandfather lasted for two months when went to the Sunshine State that winter.

On his way back to Vermont he stopped at our place on…


A family dynasty comes to an end.

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I’d been in the real estate business in Philadelphia for over 40 years. I haven’t nearly experienced enough, even after all those years, to be qualified to give you advice on how to handle situations that challenge owners and managers on a day to day basis. Each is unique and there may be fifty diffent effective ways to solve each problem. Who am I to say which one is best?

When it came to plumbing, I relied on good friend and master plumber Bill Evans. He’d been advising me on any and all…


The only thing that’s worse in saying the right thing at the wrong time is saying the wrong thing at the right time.

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My grandfather, Harry Dickens, was a man of a number of occupations: farmer, Vermont state policeman, insurance salesman and agency owner, seven term Vermont state legislator. Vermonters would agree he achieved legendary status in the state.

But his preoccupation was teasing his grandchildren.

His family will concur, he achieved legendary status in this field also.

When he visited, I had to be on guard at all times. If I wasn’t consistently vigilant, I may find myself on the business end of some odd scenario gleefully created by my colorful grandfather. …


Relax; tragedy was avoided — barely.

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My uncle Shirl was a business success no matter which way you look at it. He left the company in which he had worked for a number of years at Sperry Rail Service to form his own company with an associate. They developed a railroad track that was a continuously welded rail. The two had obtained a patient on the process and were currently presenting it to rail lines replacing older joint rails that were being used.

They were on their way to becoming millionaires.

All this was according to my cousin Kit when…


It happens every time my wife and I have a guest at the house. A male guest.

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I was at work.

When I came home he was there.

I had no idea upon my arrival that night there would be a new family member; much less one who would greet me so enthusiastically, jumping up, wriggling with excitement.

My kids: Please say it's okay for RINGO to stay — — pleeeease!

The decision was never mine to make. I sensed that if I were to be negative on the adoption of this gregariously friendly dog, I’d be the one back…


Writers all know their creations must be proof read. Sometimes the errors found are intentional.

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Ian was a portrait painter of some local renown, he’s also crazy. Well, maybe “crazy like a fox.”

In most people’s view “like a fox” wouldn’t be added to the description.

He makes good money in a very small niche. Golfers send him a picture of their favorite hole; possibly the hole where they may have had a lucky shot, a hole in one (chances — 1 in 25,000 rounds); or maybe a double eagle:or an eagle; or where they found a bird’s nest built, complete with eggs.

Any damn reason.

Ian’s clients would send him a picture of the…


Put the interest back in your life!

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I number of years ago, I felt caught in a rut. You guys know what I’m talking about. Seems like everyone starts out with a spark that the world does it’s best to extinguish little by little, worse because you don’t see it coming. You only feel it after it has arrived.

I was feeling it.

I did what I normally do in this kind of situation — I called my cousin Sue, the smartest person in the world. …


Ever feel that the person with whom you have a relationship responds more negatively to criticism than positively to complements?

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Humans are forever trying to unlock the mystery of how to endear themselves to each other.

The mystery of how to become intellectually attractive to someone usually remains locked until we discover the right key. Often we’re too old by then to take advantage of our newly acquired knowledge..

Oh, I know — there are books written about such things.

People, go out and invest hard earned money in a life long study of what to say and when to…

Brian Dickens Barrabee

A lifetime of philosophical, psychological, physical and fiscal involvement. Above all, a storyteller. brianbarrabee@aol.com

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